Objective: Gender dysphoria is estimated to occur in over 1 million people in the United States. With decreasing stigma regarding the transgender population, it is likely more patients will seek medical and surgical gender transition as parts of their treatment. However, otolaryngologists may lack training in gender-confirming surgery. This study aims to determine the current state of transgender-related education in the United States otolaryngology training programs and to evaluate trainee perceptions regarding the importance of such training.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed among the United States otolaryngology training programs. A representative sample of 22 training programs divided within 4 US Census regions completed a cross-sectional 9-question survey between March and May 2017. Respondents were queried regarding demographics, transgender curricular exposure (didactic and/or clinical), and perceived importance of training in transgender patient care.
Results: A total of 285 trainees responded (69.3% response rate). Thirty percent of respondents reported education on or direct exposure to transgender care during residency. Among those with experiences in gender-confirming surgery, more than half were exposed to facial (masculinization or feminization) or pitch alteration surgery. Overall, the majority of respondents believed training in gender-confirming surgery is somewhat important and 63.2% supported incorporation of transgender patient care in existing subspecialty fellowship training.
Conclusion: Less than one-third of otolaryngology trainees are exposed to transgender patient care. The majority of trainees endorsed the importance of residency and subspecialty fellowship training in gender-confirming surgery. To better serve the transgender population, formal didactics on gender-confirming surgery should be offered.